‘Ankara expects new German government to support Turkey-EU ties’

Turkey expects the incoming German government to understand the significance of Ankara’s connection with the European Union, a top official said on Thursday.

“We expect the new government to realize that Turkey must remain connected to the EU, and that the EU will be stronger with Turkey,” Mehmet Kemal Bozay, Ankara’s envoy to the bloc, said in a virtual seminar focused on analyzing the potential impacts of the recent German elections.

Turkey’s cooperation with Germany, which remains a driving force in the EU, will be very important and decisive, according to the diplomat.

He said outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel maintained very good relations with Turkey despite some problems and pursued a policy that was in the interests of both countries.

Germany and Merkel played a role in defusing tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean last year, as well as the migration crisis in 2015, Bozay said, adding that Turkey and the EU developed a “positive agenda” during her tenure.

The Social Democratic Party (SPD) narrowly edged out the bloc of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its sister party Christian Social Union (CSU) to win last Sunday’s national elections.

However, the SPD fell short of a parliamentary majority and the country is now likely to see months of negotiations between parties to form a coalition government.

Bozay said the incoming German government is expected to adopt an approach toward Turkey that will be in line with the country’s current stance.

“We can assume that the new coalition government to be formed in Germany will not push for a major and sudden change in relations with Turkey,” he said.

The envoy said Turkey will pursue active engagement with the new government and continue to “cooperate on regional and other issues.”

Emphasizing that Berlin remains Ankara’s top trade partner, he said cooperation between German and Turkish companies will be vital in efforts to achieve “green transformation” objectives.

On the issue of updating Turkey’s customs union agreement with the EU, Bozay said there were political and economic obstacles that need to be overcome.

He said negotiations on the matter can start under the current conditions but will likely take two to three years.

Source: Anadolu Agency